Two Countries

I recently read Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarized (Simon & Schuster, 2021).  He provides a profound analysis of identity politics, ranging from white supremacy to the politics of rage.  He provides suggested “corrections” that might ease this tension.

However, consider another scenario.  The 25 states supporting Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 agree to become another country, perhaps with Trump anointed as life-long Premier of the GUS, Great United States.  The immediate consequences include:

  • No citizen of GUS is eligible for Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid
  • All civilian and military personnel stranded in the GUS are moved to the USA
  • All military installations in the GUS are immediately moved to the USA
  • All defense contractor installations in the GUS are immediately moved to the USA

These and other changes decrease the annual GDP per capita of the GUS by 50-60%, while the funds no longer going to the GUS increase the GDP per capita of the USA by 30-40%, less than the decrease for the GUS as the USA has significantly more of the total population before the split.

There has been rampant speculation concerning what the USA will do with this new found wealth.  Some are advocating paying down the national debt, none of which GUS has agreed to honor.  Another possibility is providing national health and education at no cost to citizens.  A mix of these two possibilities seems likely.

The GUS has constituted its own Supreme Court that has banned abortion, same-sex marriage, and any regulations related to fossil fuels.  The Court is expected to entertain limiting voting rights to white Christian males.  Extreme push back from affected populations is expected to result in severe government repression.  The results may be thousands of arrests at protest rallies, hopefully with few injuries or deaths.

The affected populations have settled into an agrarian mentality.  GUS folks raise crops and livestock, and mine natural resources to supply USA populations who are competing in the global marketplace.  Effectively, the GUS states have become colonies of the USA states.  The Premier likes this because he can extract enormous export tariffs, all of which flow to him.

Resource constraints have caused the GUS states to cut back on education.  K-12 has become K-8.  All STEM-related courses have been eliminated as have STEM majors in higher education in GUS institutions.  GUS students are able to apply to USA universities but very few are accepted as they are ill-prepared for further study. 

The impoverishment of the GUS population has simultaneously lead to the enrichment of the Premier.  He requires all government agencies to procure services from the Trump Corporation.  Consequently, the Premier’s business interests consume an increasing portion of the GUS federal budget and have enabled his cornering of the global golf course market.

Are there countervailing forces?  Perhaps not surprisingly, the sports industry is not happy.  The GUS states, teams, and universities have lost TV contracts as USA teams have boycotted GUS teams.  Top players are no longer interested in GUS teams, in part due to their meager contracts compared to the USA teams in much larger markets.  GUS institutions are, quite simply, out of money.  Basketball and football coaches are forced to walk to games. 

There are immense social pressures for the GUS to merge with the USA.  The USA will only agree if the “rights” of the GUS states are severely limited.  The Premier has indicated that he will readily agree if a large acquisition fee is paid to him personally.  The USA dramatically reduced this amount, but they agreed to pay the Premier in cash.  It is a blip for the USA and will never appear on GUS financial statements.

A major point of contention emerges.  Do the GUS citizens get to vote in USA national elections?  Many thought leaders see that this would recreate the situation that caused the split.  The USA Congress decides that each GUS state will be readmitted as a USA Territory, much like Puerto Rico.  They can vote in their state elections but have no votes nationally.

The Premier is livid as he aspired to again be elected USA President.  However, the revoking of his citizenship after being convicted of the Espionage Act will not be reversed.  He and all GUS citizens will only have GUS passports.  The GUS states will be able to elect US Representatives in five years and US Senators in ten years.  They can vote in the national USA elections in twenty years.

The GUS states are insulted by this offer.  Texas proposes to lead the formation of a new country, which they would name SEC, States of the Enduring Confederacy.  This is met with rather limited enthusiasm by almost everyone except the white supremacists, who saw this as a path back to faded glory.  Facebook and Twitter proclaimed the merits of this idea.

Premier Trump explored selling Texas to Mexico.  Mexico was enthusiastic about the idea, but not the price.  Further, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio proposed becoming independent city states, rather like Singapore.  Arizona, Georgia, and Texas pushed back strongly, worried that their predominant tax bases would disappear.  Mexico said this was a deal breaker.

The USA initiated discussion with Canada and Mexico to determine the extent to which these countries could replace imports from GUS.  It looked quite promising for agricultural and forest products, as well as energy.  The middle of the US could be replaced by Canada and Mexico supplying the East and West coasts of the USA.  Several states decided to join the USA and leave GUS, accepting whatever conditions the USA imposed.

The GUS economies continue to erode.  Without Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the social safety net disappeared.  Life expectancy steadily declined.  GUS leaders heralded this trend as weeding out the infirm and incapable members of society.  Camo clothing and automatic rifles became the standard.  “Stand your ground” laws resulted in frequent deadly shootings.  GUS society regressed by perhaps two centuries.

It was rumored that the Premier succumbed to syphilis.  His press secretary insisted he was just suffering from a cold.  He was cremated and interred on the 18th hole of his Bedminster, NJ golf club.  His earlier wives were interred on holes 1-5 of the course.  His children and their spouses have reserved space on the other holes between 5 and 18.  The press has come to refer to this arrangement as the Stations of Trump.

The reintegration of GUS states into the USA proceeds as the USA had dictated.  After 20 years, the reintegration will be complete, without the electoral college, filibuster, debt ceilings, and other outmoded rules of the game.  The “old guard” who had championed the era of identity politics will be gone.  The new guard is determined to make the system work – for everyone.

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